eregyrn: (-wolf rally)
Yeah, the pilot was kind of exposition-heavy and overstuffed.

BUT I AM SO THERE. You cannot stop me. This is exactly the kind of ridiculousness I expected and wanted.

Behind the cut, spoilery thoughts and my live exchange with [ profile] telepresence while watching...
Read more... )

Conclusion: love the main characters, totally on board with the silliness. DON'T TANK, SHOW.
eregyrn: (-wolf rally)
Still stranded at episode 2 of "Teen Wolf". (Just, no time.)

I finally got myself all caught up on "Once Upon a Time", except for last night's premiere. But I'm glad to see glee exploding here and there on my flist about it. I'm certainly intrigued by the way they ended the first season, with magic clearing becoming a factor again, and everyone remembering who they are. It seems like an awesome set-up to really change the terms of the show.

Otherwise: is anyone else out there watching "Hell on Wheels"? Anyone at all? *lonely* Sometimes that show just pulls stuff where I acutely miss the ability to bond with someone over what just happened (I need someone to clutch over OMG HILARIOUS AWKWARD DINNER PARTY, or to squee with over FINALLY! GATLING GUN!), and as we are nearing the season finale (2-parter next week), the show is definitely ramping up those moments.

Also: 10 episodes is too short for a "season". And I am not down with this whole, "we won't know for a few months whether it gets another season and then it'll probably be a year before it does". That is some agonizing pacing.


Jan. 15th, 2012 10:25 pm
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - cold)

This is even more exciting right now, given that we've been working our way through select Old Who eps for the past several months. (We are in the middle of Tom Baker right now.)

Also, in a different WOOOOO category, go here to see several short scenes from the upcoming Avatar: The Legend of Korra:
eregyrn: (-GHowl - windblown)
It's not JUST a silly Doctor Who vid. It is in fact a behind-the scenes music video with various permutations of the 10th Doctor's cast (and guest stars), as well as production crew, all lip-synching to The Proclaimers "500 Miles" (it is revealed later in the video that Tennant is an enormous Proclaimers fan -- if you can't tell from listening to the song, they are Scottish -- and then it makes ever so much more sense).

Really, if you don't watch this and get an enormous smile on your face, I don't know what to do with you.

eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - hairy eyeball)
All right -- in the late 60s and early 70s, Sid & Marty Krofft were producers of children's TV programs that tended to involve giant puppets or people in suits interacting with regular people, and extraordinarily bad sets and special effects. Psychedelic imagery figured heavily into this.

I did not care for any of the Krofft-produced shows. I found them creepy. But granted, they often had catchy intro songs.

First up: "The Land of the Lost". I had a special hatred for this show, because one of the three main characters was a little blond girl named Holly (which was a moderately rare name to come across back then; also, I was blond as a child), and she was THE MOST USELESS THING OMG. Horrible. (More horrible than "Holly Hobbie"? ... yes. Even though "Land of the Lost" did not cause me to get teased nearly as much as Holly Hobbie did.)

Also I was really freaked out by the Sleestak. Yes, [ profile] telepresence will try to tell you that the Sleestak were all interesting and noble sci-fi concepts and junk, but in reality, they were people in bad lizard-esque suits with creepy big bug-eyes who walked around with this hunched shuffling gait and did nothing but HISS at you. Ugh.

Next! "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters". I also was not fond of this program. Because it was moronic. And the designs for the sea-monsters, which were all these sort of shambling mounds of seaweed with bug-eyes, kinda scared me. Even though it is obvious that even a small child could outrun them.

I like how the intro itself is like nearly 2 minutes long and tells you an entire long story. Which is fine if you're watching it once, but every episode?

"The Bugaloos" just bored me as a child. Although, thank god for small mercies, they were at least just people in silly outfits with wings on them. (Not horrid shambling monstrosities, I mean.)

But the ultimate Krofft product, IMHO, is "H. R. Pufnstuf", because the Living Island was nothing but people in huge "kooky" costumes, surrounding one lone normal kid. This is another intro that is almost 2 minutes long and tells the entire story. I think for normal broadcast purposes they must have cut it down to just the bit at the end most of the time. For those who may not really get it at first: the titular Pufnstuf is a dragon. (He has a tail, see?) Yes, he is wearing white cowboy boots. No, I don't really know why. And he is also wearing that blue half-sash because he is the Mayor of the island. Of course.

Finally, there is "The Banana Splits". This was a hybrid -- the Kroffts designed these costumes, but the show was actually produced by Hanna-Barbera. Interestingly, it is also the earliest of them (it started in 1968, and Pufnstuf started a year later). I think that this one wins for having the most insanely catchy theme song of any of these shows. (Fun Fact: The "Tra-la-la" song, as it's generally known, has an ear-wormy theme that is very similar to the chorus of Bob Marley and the Wailers' later song, "Buffalo Soldier". The same chorus, though, appears in some Cajun zydeco music, and has been linked to the familiar folk-music song "Shortnin' Bread"; I have some other versions of it, and my guess would be that the writers of the Banana Splits theme borrowed it from its Cajun roots; and also, if I had to put money on it, I'd bet on Bob Marley having gotten it that way, as opposed to his having gotten it from the children's TV show theme.)

You're welcome.
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - hairy eyeball)
I don't even KNOW why this got ear-wormed for me recently. Sometimes it doesn't have to make sense. (For example, last night leaving work I had a pop-song ear-wormed that [a] I don't even particularly like, and [b] I don't really think I'd heard recently, so I have no idea why it popped into my head.)

Anyway, this is one of those fabulously obscure anime shows that got shown in syndication in the early 70s. I watched it when I was like 4 or 5, and it got DEEPLY embedded in my brain. (I also have the distinct memory that... the way Marine Boy could breathe underwater was -- I am not joking -- he chewed a piece of special gum invented by his father I guess. So every time he was about to dart out of the ship, he'd have to get a fresh piece of gum. The piece of gum was small and looked rather like a stick of Trident. When I was really little, I LOVED to pretend that Trident would give me similar powers.) (As another aside... I am sensing the fact that I spent summers, from the youngest age, beside the ocean as probably heavily influencing my affinity for ocean-based superheroes. The Filmation Aquaman show was on TV about about this same time, and I was devoted to it, beginning a lifelong fannish love of Aquaman.)

Here is the title sequence with very catchy theme:

(That theme is so very much 1960s Japanese pop that I just can't stand it. Man, I want a single of that thing.)

What was really bugging me this time around was, I could remember the theme song having words. But the only words I really remembered were, "It's Marine Boy, brave and free! blah-blah-blah-blah-dee-dee-dah. He is a boy, a very special boy..."

And then I thought to myself... that has to be my 4/5-year-old memory playing tricks on me, because the actual lyrics to the song could not possible be that thuddingly stupid, could they?

Oh yes, they could:

Next, if you are unlucky, I may share with you various title sequences from Sid & Marty Krofft shows, because it came to my attention that certain people in my groups of friends don't seem to know what a Sid & Marty Krofft show *IS*, and that is just... well, I was going to say "sad", but for those people it's probably not actually that sad that their brains aren't infected with that particular relic of 60s psychedelia, yet, I feel that, for their cultural literacy, they should experience it anyway.
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet Spring)
11th Doctor: I got a much better impression of him in action than I had from still photos. He reminds me favorably of Peter Davison, who was my first Doctor. Also basically liked the companion. Am willing to watch more for now.

Clash of the Titans: main impression: 400% more giant scorpions than I wanted or needed.

ETA: okay a third note:

How to Train Your Dragon: wonderful, adorable. I very much recommend it.
eregyrn: (Hawk)
Ohhhhhhh, today is going to be one of those days. I can tell already.

I was greeted this morning, as I got near my office, by the sound of one of the juvenile hawks crying somewhere nearby. I managed to follow the sound into the Yard (between Widener and Mem Church), only to have it go silent, of course. (And then, pick up as I decided to give up and go to the office; of course.)

Well, I thought, at least that means they're still around!

Just now, I heard the cry again from inside my office. Grabbed camera, rushed out... heard it faintly one more time to provide a sense of which direction it was coming from... and then, nothing. *sigh*

So that's how it's going to be. They're still around, and they are BIG TEASES.

Today is already hot and humid, and it's going to get worse. Not a great day for tramping around at noon, but I may as well try. (With my luck, the hawks will all be too smart to be active in the middle of the day, and will be sitting open-beaked in the shade somewhere, making no noise at all.)

Anyway, on the subject of this post...

I like watching nature specials as much as, or more than, the next person. And of course any nature special involving orcas is going to especially draw me in. But I watched this Wild Kingdom episode over the weekend, about a guy filming orcas, and I just want to say... look. I get that doing specials like that is all about constructing a narrative. Really, I do. But I would prefer a bit more basic honesty in them. Let me explain.

So there was this guy, who is a cinematographer, who decided to go down and study the orcas on the Crozet Islands in the extreme southern Indian Ocean. These very remote and uninhabited islands have a breeding elephant seal colony, and penguins. They're one of the places particularly known for the orcas in the area having developed a hunting strategy in which they body-surf up onto the beach to snatch seals. So this guy decides to go down there and film them, and try to swim with them, to get some underwater footage, and see how the orcas tolerate him.

The special makes a lot of the fact that this is dangerous (not a lot of people go diving with wild orca pods, I guess), even though they also have to admit that there is no record of orcas ever attacking divers. Ever. But you know, nobody wants to be the first. But that wasn't what bugged me. The show went into some detail about how this guy gets dropped off on the island for a 3-month stay (the islands are uninhabited, remember; the boat drops him off and won't come back for 3 months), with all his stuff in a wooden crate, and he's planning on staying in a tent the whole 3 months (on islands near the Antarctic), and so on. Which, fine -- yes, impressive.

But here's the thing. Somebody was filming him the entire time.

You can TELL, obviously, because there are all these shots of him tramping across the island, and shots of him from above setting up to film the orcas, and shots of him sitting amongst penguins, filming them, and then when he goes diving, there are shots following him underwater (i.e. none of these seem to be able to be accounted for by him setting up a fixed camera in order to get the shots).

And, it's like... that old comment about how Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, except backwards, and in heels.

At one point, there's a giant storm that hits the islands, with 50 mph winds and all, and he hunkers down in his little tent, and the next morning, the little tent is half-covered in dark volcanic sand. And he's all, "I was worried that my tent would blow away, and I don't have another one". And I'm thinking, "Yeah, but what about the tent that the film crew must be using? Surely they would let you share?"

And, I don't know... I was just more irritated than usual about the lack of transparency, or honesty, in the narrative, call it what you will. "Lone cinematographer camps out on remote island and swims with orcas!" sounds great, in theory, but he's hardly ALONE. The narrative made quite a bit out of the risk to him in diving with the orcas, and how they got used to him and seemed to come to accept his presence... but they really didn't, did they? Rather, the story there is, they accepted HIS presence and that of at least one other diver, who was filming him filming them, and... how does that change the equation? The question of whether wild orcas will be inclined to regard one diver as pinniped-like enough to be prey? But it's two divers and their equipment, not one. (Plus, orcas are just smart enough to know the difference. They don't mistake humans for seals.)

I guess I don't see what the problem is with setting up the narrative to admit, "We dumped this guy plus a film team on the island, so that we could film what he was doing". Instead, the narrative was just very carefully constructed so as to try to make the other cameramen invisible -- you got plenty of shots of the guy's little lonely tent, but no shots of the tent that they must have been using, etc.

I suppose it's very remotely possible that he did the entire thing himself, setting up a series of fixed cameras in order to film himself, and then walking back to set up specific shots of him tramping across the island or whatever; I suppose it's possible to trigger those by remote, and perhaps even pan with them (though I don't know how you'd focus). Don't know how to explain the underwater shots of him, though. I guess I'd have to watch it again more closely to analyze the shots. But there were like 5 other cameramen credited at the end, so... I don't think that was it. I think they were there with him. And for some reason the entire show just wanted to pretend they weren't. And I find that weird, and annoying.
eregyrn: (Default)
Last night, I watched the entire Olympics opening ceremony. I didn't mean to, but at 7:36pm I decided I'd regret it if I didn't at least record it, and then I got sucked in. At 9:15pm, after some of the MOST JAW-DROPPING performances and spectacle I've ever seen, holy crap, [ profile] raqs called to find out if I was watching. She had just started watching near the beginning (but she missed the drummers! :( ). So I backed up on my DVR and we watched together, up through maybe halfway through the parade of nations.

Then she wimped out to go, like, SLEEP, and junk. I sat there and watched all of the rest of the parade and the torch lighting.

Let me tell you, that was a HELL of a show. China, and the show's artistic director, can be damned proud of itself. Athens had a lot of spectacle. This was... more beautiful, better coordinated and performed. It was all really classy-looking, too. I didn't look at any of it and think, "well, that's a bit tacky".

Without going into spoilers, the torch-lighting was very cool, too. And very "wow".

Raqs and I were discussing briefly how it might compare to what is, for us, the best modern Olympics opening ceremony: Barcelona in 1992. But the thing is, I don't remember any of Barcelona's opening, EXCEPT for two things. I remember the performance of the Ode to Joy portion of Beethoven's Ninth (... why not? even if he isn't particularly associated with Barcelona), by a quartet of operatic singers as well as orchestra. And I remember the torch-lighting as the COOLEST thing I had ever seen.

So before I went to bed, I checked to see if that is on YouTube. OF COURSE IT IS. It was great to get to watch it again after 16 years. Here it is:

Most torch-lightings for Olympics seem to be staged in a fairly "can't go wrong" kind of way -- you know, someone significant actually touches the torch to the cauldron, or they light a big fuse, essentially, that takes the fire to the cauldron.

What made Barcelona's choice so bad-ass was that element of uncertainty. Not that I think they WERE uncertain, because I don't think they would have done it if they hadn't had complete faith that that guy would make the shot. And yet -- it was a method that could be acted on by conditions far more, I tend to think, than the fuse method. (Not that that couldn't go wrong, too; I've never heard of it going wrong, though.) Just look at the WIND that's blowing the flame of the torch as the guy stands there before lighting the arrow. And yes, that's a big cauldron -- but you've still got to drop the shot in it, while compensating for that wind. Damn.

(Maybe what made it particularly impressive to us was that at the time we were still doing archery, and we shot the clout every year at Pennsic, so we had some idea of what it takes to shoot up and into something like that. Then -- do it in the dark; at a smallish target; in the wind; IN FRONT OF THE ENTIRE WORLD OMG.)
eregyrn: (Default)
This is thanks to [ profile] katie_m; everyone needs to see it. Fully subtitled.

eregyrn: (Default)
Okay, I know that at least half of my flist is preoccupied with [a] "The Ark of Truth" (*sob*! my copy hasn't arrived yet, and regardless, I won't see it until the weekend, if I'm strong), and [b] [ profile] rydra_wong's long-awaited and apparently magificent giant kick-ass novelistic SG-1 gen story, "Walked Right Out of the Machinery" (see her latest post for links to it in parts); or perhaps even [c] [ profile] princessofg's finale of "Maybe it Was Memphis", or [d] [ profile] ivorygates and [ profile] synecdochic committing more wonderful-sounding crack-like AUs in "Mezzanine" (... why is everything coming out/being posted RIGHT NOW??? when I have to, like, go to work, and *sleep*, and junk?).

BUT! If you have ever watched the new BSG, or perhaps even if you haven't, you need to go watch this: the SciFi Channel's video summary of seasons 1-3, in 8 minutes, in preparation for the premiere of season 4 on 4/4. (Thanks to [ profile] hungrytiger for the link -- that was hilarious!)

Needless to say: SPOILERRIFIC!
eregyrn: (Default)
... and then will be replayed any number of times, so don't stress if you miss it. But first airing is 9pm EST on the Discovery Channel in the U.S.
eregyrn: (Mac - pleased)
I mentioned this recently in [ profile] troyswann's comments, which reminded me to go check the Mythbusters website to see if this ep (mentioned recently by Adam in a bumper on the show) would be coming up soon. (In the bumper, Adam said they were going to do a whole "MacGyver" themed episode "soon", and then he tested out the thing where MacGyver used a spray bottle of, like, windex to make a light-bulb explode and plunge a room into darkness; and hey, it worked!).

Well, set your TiVos, my friends! Next Wednesday, Feb. 20th, at 9pm EST on the Discovery Channel in the U.S., "MacGyver Myths" premieres! From the Mythbusters description: "This reverential episode of MythBusters pays tribute to the man who made something really useful from out of almost anything-MacGyver!"

As I was remarking to Sal, I had heard that the show started leaving stuff out of the description of what Mac was making, so as to make it unlikely for impressionable kids watching to be able to do some of the dangerous stuff he did. That being the case, it'll be interesting to see what things Mythbusters chooses to try to duplicate, and whether they mention this at all.

If you miss it, fear not -- the Discovery Channel reruns these eps approximately a skillion times each, so you'll surely be able to find it airing again. Folks who don't get that channel (esp. if you're not in the U.S.) may want to alert people they know who tend to be those who get things uploaded for *ahem*ing. I'm sure that DVD copies (from those of us with TiVos that can copy to DVD) will be quite possible, too. (click on "TV Schedules" at upper left)

Should be entertaining! I loves me a good Mythbusters ep in which they tackle movie and tv stuff. (The "Jaws" two-parter remains a big favorite. Which reminds me -- ROY SCHEIDER! *sniff*!)
eregyrn: (Default)
I'm indebted to [ profile] jeffwik for pointing to this. Any fan of Jim Henson needs to watch it ([ profile] raqs, I'm lookin' at YOU).

Very very very YOUNG Jim Henson. Written by, directed by, starring. Only the merest hint here and there of muppets to come. More SEX than you might expect. But when you think about SS and the muppets, really, the weirdness in it can't be that surprising.

(I also have to congratulate myself that I was able to date it to 1963-1965 on the basis of the cars on the street alone, before I looked at the info posted and discovered that it was first screened at the MMA in May 1965. Go me.)
eregyrn: (Default)
Gah! So behind on everything! No time today... catch up on weekend... Meanwhile, quick drive-by post.

First: does everybody who cares know that "Eureka"'s 2nd season started up this week? It was on Tuesday. I don't know if SciFi is following its previous habit of repeating it on Friday, but check your listings if you missed TiVoing it on Tuesday.

Second: everybody who cares knows that Doctor Who's "3rd" season (*snort*) started back up again on SciFi last Friday, right? If you didn't, I'm sorry -- but it's on SciFi tonight, check your listings. Same Doctor, new companion. This ep seems to involve... Shakespeare.

ANYONE who is a Doctor Who fan should go check these out (all by mimi-na at deviantArt). I love them deeply:

The Doctors:

The Doctors' Girls:

(I am serious, that one kicks *so*much ass...)


The Doctors' Boys:

(was linked to these in comments on F_W, and I bless whoever it was who linked them, because they are all BRILLIANT.)
eregyrn: (Default)
I really love how nothing gets fellow LJers' attention like posting a maddening question that involves researching something having to do with popular culture.

[ profile] katie_m was quickest off the mark, providing the answer that the "Do you ears hang low?" tune is "Turkey in the Straw".

Going to read the Wikipedia entry on that led to the reminder that the tune has been used, amongst countless other places, for the American State Capitols song from Animaniacs. And I discovered -- I don't know why this didn't occur to me before! -- that OF COURSE a lot of those Animaniacs pieces (which I haven't seen since the show was on the air) are now on YouTube. Of course. So...
(Wakko does the American State Capitols, to the tune of "Turkey in the Straw")

(Yakko does All the Countries of the World)
(The Universe Song)
(The Ballad of Magellan)

I'm actually really happy to find the clip of the Ballad of Magellan, because I never actually saw it on the show -- but I know the song by heart, because the folk-band Broadside Electric put it on their third album, "More Bad News", as a bonus track on the 1997 release, with the following in the liner-notes:

The Ballad of Magellan is an age-old tale of a voyage into the unknown: a man travels to find his way to the East Indies and, in so doing, traverses the mysteries and intricacies of his own soul. We cannot stress enough the effect this deeply moving story had on the three of us. After hearing it for the first time, we entered a state of hyper-awareness where for a short time we grasped the answers to the pressing questions we all ask ourselves about our place in the universe. We woke up three days later in a canoe drifting around in the mighty Schuylkill River with no recollection of our prior activities. *



* The truth is we heard it on "Kids Corner," one of the best radio shows on the planet, and entered a state of Animaniawareness after which we woke up a year later having watched too much TV. The song itself probably bears little or no resemblance to anything that actually ever happened to anybody.

And, yeah, while it's nice to have gotten to see the original, finally... the Broadside version is better. :)
eregyrn: (Default)
First, a couple of tv-notes. One: did everybody get the memo about "Drive", the new series starring Nathan Fillion? It's really, really good. It's on FOX, so of course, it's doomed, but catch it while you can. They showed the first 3 eps last week; 4th ep is on tomorrow night. Maybe they'll rerun the earlier ones at some point. Very cool, enjoyable. I hope they don't do the obvious thing and put it on opposite "Heroes".

I haven't been posting links to my prior write-ups of the SG-1 eps that are airing now on SciFi, because I posted a review of 10.11, 10.12, and 10.13 all together, so, there's spoilers galore. Will do it when it becomes pertinent.

Today, because it would have been a crime to waste this continuing GORGEOUS weather, I drove out to Drumlin Farm and walked around. Whenever I come back from there, Emily feels this giant need to sniff my pants and my arms and my t-shirt verrrrry carefully. Farm smells must intrigue her. I went and said hi to the silver fox, and the draft mules, and I actually found where the deer were sacking out for the day. The only nature I saw (apart from a jillion birds, of course; most of them robins) was a red squirrel, who was very hinky and moving away at high speed most of the time. That was cool, as I've never seen one in the wild. (Grey squirrels are pretty ubiquitous around here.) It was lovely to walk around.

Yes, the weather, it is warm. And you know what warm weather means. First, it means open windows. And second, it means the people who live behind me have come out and put lawn chairs on the back part of the big parking lot behind their building, near to the fence, which means, as close to my actual apartment as they can get. And this, naturally, must be accompanied by constant, moderately loud music. And the problem with this Latino music? It is essentially polkas. I don't know why. I like an occasional polka as much as the next person, maybe more, but... this is 4 hours and counting of continuous polkas, okay? *sigh*
eregyrn: (Default)
This morning, discovered little black flecks in the water from my tea-kettle. On investigation, discovered that the lining of my orange Oxo kettle was flaking off pretty significantly. Hard water? Ehn. Replaced with red Oxo kettle of different type; am sad it isn't orange.

New England makes no compromises. We shifted from horrible rainy cold straight to sunny and 75. I am not complaining, mind you.

Drove out to Broadmoor Reservation to walk around after other errands. Took my spiffy tan polka-dot Wellingtons to wear; too warm on my feet and made my legs sweat, but oh, I was glad I had them because of all the places where various trails were flooded out and I just DID NOT CARE. (It's neat to stand in a rushing stream just over a waterfall with the water pushing on your legs.) Took my foldy-chair, so that when I got tired of tramping around and came upon something that I wanted to enjoy for a it, I could just deploy it and relax for a bit. Did that next to a babbling bit of stream with views of sunlight through woods and marsh and meadow beyond. I really do love the sound of running water.

Nature encountered: one fairly big garter snake, slithering away at high speed. Then he paused, only about 3 feet from me, and I was able to get about 2 steps closer, before he took off again. Also: spotted a beaver dam in the distance.

Unfortunately, evening has been a complete wash. Got home, and a headache descended that appears to be resistant to painkillers. Have not been able to do anything all evening...

... except watch the last two parts of "100 Greatest Weather Moments" from the Weather Channel. Yes, I am a gigantic nerd, and I was riveted to this series, as I was describing to [ profile] katie_m. (Note to [ profile] telepresence: Galveston was number 19 (fair enough); rightly, they didn't include any of the tsunamis.) It should also be known that I am really a huge sap. It turns out that I *will* tear up if you show me footage of the Challenger blowing up; I will tear up listening to "Amazing Grace"; and I will tear up watching footage of Katrina.

Dallas Stars win tonight, forcing a game 7 with the Canucks (I assume, on Monday; in Vancouver). Historically speaking, the Canucks have not had a lot of luck in the past few trips to the playoffs, with first-round game 7s. Let's hope they *really* gut-check and pull this one out.
eregyrn: (Default)
Thank you so much, Anonymous Person, for the little sapling! It is slightly ironic, only because I have never been known for having any sort of green thumb (the opposite, in fact) -- but I heartily approve of the purpose of it! What a nice idea on LJ's part, and on the part of the gift-giver.

(Actually, my lack of luck with most plants notwithstanding, I would like to report to all and sundry that on the Thursday before New Years, I bought a bonsai. I don't know what I was thinking, because of course, there's plants, and then there's bonsai, which are like plants except with a much higher level of difficulty and potential Fail. Yet? It is April 10th, and by golly, that bonsai is STILL ALIVE! Go me. It is a ficus bonsai; maybe that explains its hardiness. I was convinced that, what with the change in environment and the crappy light levels in my house, plus the cats trying to chew it, that it would soon drop all of its leaves in a big *FWUMP*, but -- not so. It has shed very few leaves and put out many more little green shoots. Yay!)


Behind this cut, you will find some details about my recent Close Encounter With a Raccoon. )


Behind this cut, you will find some observations about recently getting to see the first few episodes of 'Rome'. (May contain some spoilers, if you care.) )
eregyrn: (Default)
As an addendum to my post yesterday reviewing all of the 2007 SuperBowl ads -- I was watching the Oscars last night, and the GM "suicidal robot" ad came on... and it had a different ending! That is, it no longer had the "commits suicide by jumping off a bridge" ending.

Instead, the ad was slightly longer, and the end featured what looked to me like the depressed robot, after failing at a string of unappealing jobs, passing by a junkyard and watching a big crane dropping a crushed car on top of a junk-heap, from which the car came tumbling down. That was the thing that made the robot "gasp" and wake up from its "nightmare".

See my comment to [ profile] ravenhbh at the end of my previous post, for an over-thinking analysis of what this change might signal about the "reading" of the commercial. (Overall, I still don't think it's very positive; it's just no longer *as* gobsmackingly insensitive as it was.)

And while we're on the subject of the SuperBowl ads -- [ profile] elishavah commented, "Except for the huge viewing audience, the good SB commercials aren't really different from the great ones we get throughout the year now." And I basically agreed with that. I was reminded of it as I was watching the Oscars, during which I saw a number of ads (many of them with movie/film themes) that, honestly, I felt were the equal or better of the SuperBowl ads, and indeed with a much-decreased "people acting dumb" quotient.


Continuing in the vein of advertising, I wanted to share with folks some of the recent funny commercials that the NHL has been making. This is also sort of a survey -- because I'd love to know if anyone out there has SEEN these commercials on regular TV. I personally have only seen them during hockey games, which... *headdesk*, NHL.

The NHL has had two major ad campaigns since the start of the 2006-07 season. The first was "Game On!", which was designed to "remind" people that the new season was starting/had started. I found the spots a little surreal, and mildly funny. They were at least trying to take advantage of some of the most recognizable/popular faces in the NHL today, both new and old. One ad, which I can't find, featured new wunderkind Sidney Crosby. Another featured famous veteran Peter Forsberg:

So, more recently, the NHL's newest campaign is "my NHL: Hockey players are just like you and me". With one exception, I've found these ads to be cute, and fairly funny. Again, they're trying to take advantage of popular names and faces that folks (who watch hockey, at least) know, and via the commercials, I think, they are trying to impart a "personality" to the guys who are basically known for their feats on-ice.

Here is an example featuring Alex Ovechkin, who plays with the Washington Capitals. Ovechkin was a rookie last year, he's from Russia, he's enthusiastic and personable, and he's a stupidly talented goal-scorer. Last season was enlivened by the "rivalry" between him and fellow rookie Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who was another stupidly-talented goal-scorer.

And here is a more recent example, featuring the Sedin twins of the Vancouver Canucks. The Sedins are known for... well, for being identical twins (who annoyingly wear the same hairstyle and even facial hair; presumably because they like messing with people), for having played their entire hockey lives together, for being eerily in sync with each other (as you might expect identical twins to be), and thus for being very good (if not "superlative") goal-scorers and who are almost invariably in on each other's goals, and who tend to make anyone who plays on a line with them look good. Neither of them is a Wayne Gretsky or a Mario Lemieux, but they get notoriety anyway because hey, how many identical twins who've been line-mates since about age 6 does the NHL have?

As [ profile] telepresence commented after I sent this to him: "Okay, that was fucking hilarious. Although obviously gender and sexuality are contributing factors to how the comedy works in the ad, it's not offensive and homophobic like the Snickers ad."

Finally, the latest entry in this campaign features 18 players who went to the NHL All-Star game. Now, I grant you -- I'm a hockey *fan*, and I could only recognize a few of the guys by face, although I did know all of their names. Still, I think it's a cute and funny ad:

The guy on the phone is Alex Ovechkin, as described above. His "rivalry" with Sidney Crosby comes into play in the commercial. Some of the other notable cameos: the guy stuffing his face from the dessert trolley is Joe Thornton (now of the San Diego Sharks, formerly captain of the Boston Bruins); the guy asleep on the couch is Dallas Stars goalie Marty Turco (who's a funny, laid-back kind of guy from everything I've seen); the guy tickling Turco's nose with the feather is rival Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (who despite the name is French-Canadian). (I think the guy standing next to him, from the Buffalo Sabres, is another goalie, but he's one of those whom I don't recognize by face.)

Thus, my survey. It's not like I watch a LOT of TV, except on certain channels. But I have only ever seen any of these commercials play during actual hockey games, which seems really stupid to me because, hello? We're already watching, NHL.

It has certainly been remarked that at least one of the things that hurts the NHL (marketing-wise) is the lack of recognizable, compelling personalities in the sport. And it's kind of a vicious cycle, too. Right now, though, the NHL really does have any number of guys who are exciting to watch. They play the game very well, and they are personable, too. The NHL has practically been wetting itself over the debut of Crosby and Ovechkin, "the future of hockey", because both are personable, willing to be in the spotlight, aren't jerks, and they are unusually talented and flashy and fun to watch.

These commercials *feel* to me like the first step towards *creating* identifiable personalities within the sport. But unless the commercials are actually getting airplay outside of hockey games... how is it going to do any good?


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